BBC collaboration weekend at Halsway Manor

I have just spent a weekend filming with the BBC at Halsway manor for a BBC One Points West programme and a BBC Introducing project for BBC Radio Bristol and Somerset.

Six artist were asked to take part. Young Folk Award winner Archie Churchill-Moss (Moore, Moss & Rutter), Young Folk Award finalist Hattie Briggs, George Wilding who has recently been played on the Janice Long and Graham Norton shows, BBC Introducing artists Natalie Holmes and Sharon from Lazibyrd... and meeeee! :)

We spent hours in the library at Halsway Manor which is the second largest collection of folk literature in the country, second only to Cecil Sharpe house, and took some time to collaborate re-writing and re-arranging verse, poems and song.

There were two definite highlights for me: getting to spend some time being mentored by the incredible Niopha Keegan of the Unthanks who also joined in the collaborations and played the most stunning fiddle along to one of my own songs 'The Sailor's Farewell' in a performance at the end of the weekend.

My second highlight was a collaboration project between myself, Archie and Hattie as we rewrote the tune to 'Spotted Cow' and Hattie and I complemented each other's own personal works with harmonies throughout the weekend. Archie is a hugely talented player who is just incredibly easy to work with and so professional, and Hattie's beautiful voice soared in harmony with mine :) By the end of the weekend we really couldn't stop singing together!

Ok... I lied, there were three highlights: we also went to Pebbles Tavern in Watchet for our first performance of the weekend on the Saturday evening. After a showcase of collaborative and personal works we ended the evening in a traditional session, everything from Irish tunes courtesy of Archie and Niopha and traditional acappella songs from myself to an attentively silent room to an uproar of voices as everyone joined in to George's cover of 'Sunny Afternoon'. It was an amazing evening, a magical atmosphere, and it really bought us all together.

We ended the weekend with a concert at Halsway Manor and cream teas with the team!

I'll share the dates of the BBC Points West and BBC Radio programmes as soon as I have the details.

HUGE thanks to the BBC introducing team, Sam Bonham, Richard Pitt & Charlie Taylor, the mentors Phil Day, Niopha Keegan, Will Lang, and Paul James, the BBC Points West team, and everyone at Halsway Manor who looked after us so well and made us so welcome... and of course, to the other five artists for sharing this experience with me! What a lovely weekend :)

Ange x

Posted by Ange Hardy on August 14th 2014

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